FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What happens if the bond doesn't pass?
We will likely need to implement creative scheduling options (year-round school, tracks, split schedules, etc.) as a way to address capacity challenges, in addition to adding more modulars and increasing class sizes.
Q: Why is Weld RE-4 considering a bond program?
Growth in student enrollment in Weld RE-4 is aligned with new neighborhood developments within our boundaries. The towns of Severance and Windsor issued more than 1,200 single-family building permits in 2021. Active construction is occurring in the Promontory neighborhood of West Greeley, and there are multiple large projects in the approval stage with the City of Greeley.
Eight of our nine schools have exceeded their building capacity. To help manage this challenge, we’ve purchased modulars that will be installed at schools this summer. Every single school in our district will have at least one modular next year, with 21 modulars housing 72 classrooms districtwide.
Q: Where will the new elementary schools be located?
The potential new elementary schools will be located in the RainDance and Peakview neighborhoods.
The Peakview location will decrease overcrowding at three schools: Grandview, Range View, and Mountain View / Tozer. It will allow us to serve Severance families currently in Grandview’s boundary, at Range View.
Due to the size of the RainDance development, we expect to open the school with significant enrollment. This location will also accommodate enrollment from new housing developments on the western part of our district boundaries.
Locating elementary schools at Peakview and Raindance will balance enrollment at each of our K-5 campuses.
Q: How will the two new elementary schools benefit Severance elementary students?
If the bond passes, we would redraw the boundaries. This would help balance enrollment at all existing schools (including Range View Elementary in Severance), addressing the capacity challenges. Range View is built for 600 and this last year had 725 students (operating at 120.83% capacity).
Currently, there is a small portion of Severance students being bused to Grandview in Windsor instead of Range View. Based on preliminary modeling, our hope is to redraw the boundaries in a way that allows more Severance elementary students to attend Severance schools.
Q: Why did the costs increase from the 2021 bond measure on the same projects?
Due to the economy, the construction industry is experiencing dramatically escalating prices, as well as the effects of inflation. At the time of the 2021 election, the bond market was also much more favorable. Our bonds were expected to sell for a 20% premium, meaning we would receive more funds than asked for. This allowed us to budget soft costs into the premium funds. Today, we can expect 5-8%. This amount cannot support the soft costs, and, so, they need to be budgeted within the bond funding request.
Q: Which bond underwriter / issuer was selected and why?
We have engaged RBC Capital Markets (Royal Bank of Canada) as the underwriter and issuer for the 2022 bond measure. RBC Capital Markets is one of the largest banks in the country and consistently ranks as one of the top underwriters nationally. Its Colorado public finance office has more than 100 years of history providing financial services to Colorado issuers. Serving Colorado School Districts as Dain Rauscher for nearly 100 years and now as RBC Capital Markets since 2005, RBC’s K-12 team has the most experience of any firm in Colorado in K-12 finance. Its Colorado team consistently ranks as the leading underwriter in the state and ranked as Colorado’s #1 senior manager in four of the last five years in K-12 underwriting. RBC was hired as a result of a competitive RFP in 2015 and has served us successfully since, providing outstanding service, transparency, and competitive rates. Just in the last few years, they've worked with 20+ Colorado districts on bond underwriting and issuance.
Q: Why does this bond contain so many projects?
Our needs extend across the district and at all levels of our system. We intended to bring a measure before voters in 2020, but delayed due to the global pandemic. The measure failed in 2021. Each year our needs have compounded.
Q: Why is the tax impact lower than anticipated?
Each August, we receive preliminary information from Weld County on the assessed property values in our district. The updated information from the county, driven primarily by a 117% year-over-year increase in oil and gas industry, has decreased the estimated taxpayer impact for the proposed 2022 bond and mill levy override. We had previously shared a monthly tax impact of $9.20 per $100,000 of actual property value for the bond measure. With this new information, the estimated net tax impact of the voter-approved bond would be $5.01 per $100,000 actual property value.
Q: Who will spend / manage the bond funds?
Funding from the bond measure is managed by the Bond Oversight Committee. This committee is representative of our community and provides a regular report to the Board of Education on the progress of the bond construction projects, as well as how funds are being utilized in alignment with Board and voter approval. More information will be provided soon.
MILL LEVY OVERRIDE
Q: Why does this mill levy override not sunset?
Because this mill levy will be used for staff salaries beyond what our general fund revenue can provide, we do not look to have this mill levy override end.
Q: Why is this mill levy override a dollar amount versus a set mill rate increase?
We are not asking voters for a set mill levy rate, but rather a dollar amount. This provides voters an advantage. As the number of property owners and assessed property values increase, the amount of the mill levy override is spread across the community. As our community has grown over the years, we have typically seen a reduction in the mill levy override portion of your property taxes.
Q: Why does Weld RE-4 need to ask taxpayers for funding? Why doesn't growth pay for itself?
In Colorado, education is funded by state and local revenue. As our local communities grow and assessed values increase, local sources fund more and the state funds less. Our "net" as a district does not change, no matter how much our communities grow. Learn more about school funding.
Q: What is the difference between a bond and a mill levy override?
Typically, bond measures help fund capital projects (school construction), whereas the mill levy overrides fund operations (teacher salaries, operational costs, etc.).
Q: When was the last time Weld RE-4 asked for and received bond funding?
In 2016, voters approved a school bond of $104.8 million for renovations and innovations at Windsor High School (including the construction of the Innovation Center), the construction of Severance High School, facility investments and improvements across the district’s elementary and middle schools, and facility improvements to other district facilities.
Q: What about money for schools from the marijuana tax?
There are three ways marijuana is taxed in Colorado, one of them being an excise tax. Ninety percent or the first $40 million, whichever is greater, goes to the Capital Construction Assistance Fund, which contributes to the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) program. BEST is a competitive grant program that funds the construction and renovation of existing schools. Given the costs of school facilities and the needs across our state, only a limited number of districts benefit each year.
Q: If passed, when would I see an increase on my tax bill?
If passed, the property tax increase for the bond and / or mill levy override would appear on the 2022 tax bill, which would be collected in 2023.
Q: What are developers currently paying in impact fees?
Under an Intergovernmental Agreement with our local municipalities — Severance, Greeley, and Windsor — we collect either funds or land, or a combination of both, from developers to offset the impact of new development on our district. The amount of funds is based on a calculation that includes the development value of the land and the number of residential units / rooftops. Depending on the type of development, single-family or multi-family homes, the fees range from $1,213 to $2,916.
Q: What is the status of the impact / developer fees? Are you going to raise the fees?
We recently completed a development impact fee study, which recommends that we increase the rates. These recommendations will be brought before the boards of our municipalities. If approved, our development impact fees would be the highest in the state.
Q: Are there tax relief resources available to support seniors on fixed incomes?
For eligible citizens ages 65 or older, 50% of the first $200,000 of actual value of the property can be exempted, and the state will pay the exempted property tax. This property tax exemption is available for Colorado residents who, by January 1 of the year you apply, are age 65 or older, and have owned and lived in their home (as their primary residence) for 10 consecutive years or more. Learn More
Q: How do you select school sites?
We select sites for future schools based on a variety of factors, including the location within the district, land availability, transportation routes, population density, and growth projections. These are outlined in our Master Facility Plan, informed by recommendations from the Long Range Facility Planning Committee.
Q: Why don’t you build for projected growth?
The feedback from our community in the past has been to build for the capacity needs at that point in time / the near future in order to reduce the impact to taxpayers.
Q: How many schools are in Weld RE-4, and how many students do we serve?
This school year (2021-22), we served 8,104 students. The district boundary encompasses 103 square miles, and includes Windsor, Severance, West Greeley, and unincorporated Weld County. Our district is home to two high schools, two middle schools, four elementary schools, one primary school, and one charter school that offers elementary, middle, and high school programs.
Q: How many of these students come from outside of our boundaries?
Due to capacity issues, we greatly limit how many choice applications we accept from students outside of our boundaries. For the 2021-22 school year, there were 709 choice enrollment students, 445 of which attend Windsor Charter Academy. It should also be noted that this number includes the children of our staff members.
Q: Why did you put modulars right off of Main Street at Windsor Middle?
We purchased five modulars (25 classrooms) to help manage growth. This is in addition to our 16 existing modulars (47 classrooms). Every single school in our district will have at least one modular to support our capacity challenges in 2022-23.
To reduce costs, the WMS modulars were purchased from another district and do not contain bathrooms. As a result, they have to be within 500 feet of the school (CCR 1010-6). This was the closest site that provides that access, as well as access to utility infrastructure.
Q: How do I vote in the November 8 election?
Ballots are mailed to each registered voter in October prior to the November 8 election day. To ensure you receive your ballot, make sure you are registered to vote and / or that your voter registration information is up to date. Ballots must be returned via mail by October 31 (postmarked) or in-person by November 8. Voters may also vote at in-person polling places. For more information on polling places or ballot drop boxes, visit Vote 411.
Q: Would charter schools help alleviate growth?
Yes and no. As a school of choice, a charter school is open to students within and beyond the Weld RE-4 School District boundaries. Agreements regarding the percentage of students that need to be from within the Weld RE-4 School district boundaries or prioritization of local students is one of the negotiated items with charter applicants.
Q: Why did the school district not sell RainDance to a future charter school?
The RainDance site is a key component to the district's long-range plan and addressing the continued rapid growth in our community.
Q: What is the status of the RainDance property transfer to the district?
The land transfer documentation has been completed by both parties, and the acceptance of the land was approved by the Board at its May 16 meeting.
Timeline of Recent Events:
April 5, 2022: Martin Lind sent an email to Jason Seybert confirming that he has signed the necessary documents for land transfer of ownership. Seybert then sent the documentation to legal counsel for review.
April 13, 2022: During the verification process with the Town of Windsor Planning, utilities were not yet on site.
April 14, 2022: Jason Seybert emailed Tom Siegel, the representative of Water Valley Company, to confirm the utility conditions were unmet.
April 15, 2022: Jason Seybert and Tom Siegel spoke via phone, and Siegel confirmed that the language in the developer agreement had not yet been met. The two agreed that the necessary utilities, according to the agreement, would be installed as required at no cost to the district. This agreement was to entail that utilities will be installed prior to construction, upon request, prior to acceptance of the land. Siegel agreed to drafting and sending an agreement to confirm this, and once reviewed and accepted by both parties, the district would accept the land.
April 20, 2022: Martin Lind contacted the district stating it was his understanding of the agreement that utilities did not need to be on-site prior to the district accepting the land, and there was already a provision in place for the utilities to be installed when the district was ready to build.
April 20, 2022: Jason Seybert forwarded Martin Lind’s email with his position to legal counsel for review.
April 28, 2022: Jason Seybert informed Martin Lind and Tom Siegel that after legal review, the district will accept the land as the agreement states, and it will be taken to the Board of Education for approval at the May 16, 2022, meeting with an anticipated closing date of May 17, 2022.
April 29, 2022: New closing documents were provided by the title company.
May 11, 2022: Closing documents were included in the May 16, 2022, Board of Education packet with a recommendation to accept the land and assign authority to Jason Seybert to sign all closing documents.
May 16, 2022: The Board of Education approved the acceptance of the land and assigned authority to Jason Seybert to sign all closing documents.
Q: What is the status of the impact / developer fees?
Under an Intergovernmental Agreement with our local municipalities — Severance, Greeley, and Windsor — we collect either funds or land, or a combination of both, from developers to offset the impacts of new development on our district. The amount of funds is based on a calculation that includes the development value of the land and the number of residential units / rooftops. Depending on the type of development, single-family or multi-family homes, the fees range from $1,213 to $2,916.